So with the new Intel 11th gen chips now also supporting PCIe 4, being right around the corner, some new motherboards for them would obviously be the next step. Well today we are looking at one of these socket 1200 chips, a bit more mid-range entry level board, this one from Gigabyte. The Z590 Pro-AX.
Now for the price, we based the Pro-AX off from the previous Z490 Pro-AX, and that was around $300, so the new Z590 should fall in that price range as well. It might be a little bit more seeing that this now has PCIe 4 slots.
But before we get into all the tech specs, let’s first see what you get with the motherboard.
Inside the box
Inside the box you will get the following.
- Board itself
- Big sheet of stickers
- User manual
- Quick installation guide
- Four SATA cables
- WIFI 6 Antenna
- M.2 screws
- RGB LED strip extension cable
- Noise detection cable
- 2x Thermistor cables
- G connector
Now when taking the board out of the box, you first notice the build quality, and I must say that it definitely feels and looks very premium. The materials used is of a very high standard, which is usually the case with Gigabyte products.
Now the design of the Pro-AX is very much the same the Z490, there’s some small changes but nothing drastic. The heatsink over the VRMs have slightly changed, but you still get the orange thermal pads though, most of the bottom half of the board is covered in heat spreaders, but there is a very good reason for that which I’ll explain later on. And you get a very small amount of RGB, only a little strip on the IO cover.
AS for the VRMs, we couldn’t really find a lot of info about which ones they are. Only some basic specs. They use a 12+1 power phase which is a 90A smart power stage, a tantalum polymer capacitor array was used as well. The VRMs are cooled thanks to gigabytes FINS array cooling system that uses louvered cooling fins that’s coated in Nano carbon.
Now what about memory, so you get 4x DDR4 dimm slots, that supports a max of 128 GB of RAM with frequencies from 2133 – 3200MHz, although it does support XMP of 5000+ MHz They also feature Gigabytes armor, which helps installing the RAM and making the board less prone to flex.
Now moving down towards the PCIe slots, you get 3x PCIe x16 Slots ( 1x 16, 2x 4) Only the x16 is armored, which is a nice to have for a more secure fit with these new big GPUs and also reduces flex when installing the GPU.
And for some of the other ports on the motherboard you get
- 4x m.2 slots (3x PCIe 4.0) so if you would want to RAID with this MOBO you can
- 6x SATA 6GB ports
- Due note that if a SSD is installed on the bottom M.2 slot it will disable SATA 1. But if you install a PCIe SSD it will be fine. No SATAs lost then. On the top 3 M.2 Slots no SATAs will be lost
- Under the big ass heatsink is something unique to this setup is the Aorus M.2 Thermal Guard II, which uses a double-sided heat sink design to help cool M.2 SSD devices with double-sided flash.
Taking a look at the back of the board at the IO you get
- 1x USB Type-C port, with USB 3,2 Gen 2×2 Support
- 4x USB 3.2 Gen 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports (red)
- 4x USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports
- 4x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
- 1x WIFI 6 AX200 + BT5.1
- 1x DisplayPort 1.2
- 1x 2.5GB LAN
- 1x optical S/PDIF out connector
- 5X Audio jacks
- As for the internal connectors you get the following.
- 1x 24-pin ATX main power connector
- 1x 8-pin ATX 12v power connector
- 1x 4-pin ATX 12v power connector
- 1x CPU fan header
- 1x water cooling CPU fan header
- 6x PWM fan connectors
- 2x Addressable LED strip headers
- 2x RGB LED strip header
- 6x SATA 6GB connectors
- 4x M.2 Socket 3 connectors
- 1x front panel header
- 1x front panel audio header4 x M.2 S
- 1x USB Type-C header USB 3.2 Gen2
- 1x USB Type-C header Gen 1
- 1x USB 2.0/1.1
- 2x Thunderbolt
- 2x Temperature sensor headers
- 1x Q-flash button 3 connectors
So now we have that out of the way, this board is actually packed to the brim with connectors. But the best feature of this board is the 4x M.2 sockets, which 3 of them are PCIe 4. So if you want a board made for super-fast storage this is the one to go for, this actually has more PCIe 4 slots than the master version of this board.
Because the use case for GPUs with PCIe 4 is still very limiting, with only about a 2% performance increase from PCIe3 to 4.
But the Pro-AX found a very good balance with all the ports and goodies a gamer would need, but I wouldn’t go below an i7 for this board, the price simply doesn’t justify it to be honest.
This is a very good board, with very good functionality, certainly a good investment if you need to upgrade to a new 11th gen CPU and want PCIe 4. Also being socket 1200, the 10th gen CPUs will also work on this board, but they do not support PCIe 4 unfortunately.